Manager of the year 2025: creative, empathetic, eccentric and “tech savvy”. “Must-Have” Skills Kit in Generations Y and Z

Do you see yourself as a manager in the next few years? If so, then do not look too carefully at today's and yesterday's managers. Their model no longer has a place in the world of tomorrow.

Skills that qualified you for a senior position in the past are no longer valid today. What brings a manager's success today may not mean anything tomorrow, amid the radical changes a company can make from day to day, and on the background of an increasingly competitive global marketplace. The technological advance that has stormed society in recent years has made responsibilities and competencies more and more complex and, most of the time, past experiences are no longer so relevant. In this context, the question is no longer whether employees and managers in a company have the necessary skills for future jobs, but whether they have the potential to adapt these skills to the new requirements, whatever they may be. Yes, future managers will have to learn to adapt. But if they want to be successful, they have to first understand their own role and only then try to understand the roles of others.

Responsibilities are constantly changing with automation and with the growing visibility of artificial intelligence. Managing and operational teams are becoming more and more disparate, and globalization continues to bring new collaborative challenges. Also, given that four different generations currently work in parallel (from X-generation traditionalists to Y or Z generation people have different beliefs and values), a future manager will need to know how to simultaneously manage extremely different expectations and have the ability to capitalize on different work styles and experiences.

"The change will happen so quickly that 50% of the jobs that exist today will no longer exist in the next 10 years. We will live in an environment that is rapidly changing, "says Liz Bentley, founder of Liz Bentley Associates, a management consulting firm.

Amid this flow of change, managers will need new skills. The hierarchical structures of the past will no longer work, says Bentley. Looking around, we see that Liz is right, most companies are constantly transforming and implementing new strategies to achieve the best results, and top talents are already adapting very quickly and very well to such changes , without this affecting the quality of their work. So, if you already plan your future career, make sure you keep these skills at the forefront.

"Tech savvy": the manager of the future understands new technologies and is eager to adopt them

"Technology will develop with us," says Bentley, and there will be no jobs to immune to its effects. Of course, we are not talking about a straight line here, but more about the fact that technology will become a permanent factor in the workplace. This will give rise to new challenges, conflicts and opportunities related to skills development, roles, data management, privacy, etc. Managers will need to understand the technology well enough to keep up and anticipate emerging issues. Some technological innovations will work, others will not. One thing, however, is certain: managers will need not only to be eager to embrace new technologies but also to be competent enough to manage change in the relationship between people and emerging technologies.

Discretion of self-centered leadership and the birth of the "eccentric" leader

Effective managers and leaders will have to be less egocentric, says Liz Bentley. Approaches such as "I am the boss and you will listen to me!" Will no longer operate on a tense labor market, mainly formed of young people. Bentley says that in order to be appreciated, managers will have to be more "eccentric" to focus on the development of people and teams around them. The best managers will analyze the major need and then build and develop a team that responds to this need. Bentley also notes that this process will be a collaborative process, in which case the manager dictates and gives orders, and team members execute them.

Critical creativity and critical thinking, key competencies

Effective managers will need to be as good both in terms of evaluating both candidates and employees. The best of them will have a highly developed critical thinking and creative problem-solving abilities as the pace of work continues to accelerate. They will also need to be able to inherently demonstrate abilities and to keep abreast of emerging tools for evaluating candidates.

Flexibility: performance is based on results, not on office hours

In other words, efficient managers will shape environments that focus less on the place and the way people work even more on measuring outcome-based success. Also, the use of contractors will continue to grow, and managers will have to think differently about how they assemble the skills they need to reach their goals. The focus will have to move away from the process, except for how to optimize it. We already notice that we are moving to a 100% autonomous and 100% responsible workforce, and performance is based increasingly on results, not on hours spent in the office. As more and more flexibility is at work, managers will need to focus more on communication and relationship management issues.

The ability to challenge the status quo is the difference between exceptional and mediocre managers

As teams become more disparate, with entrepreneurs, consultants, remote employees, managers will have to learn to build organizational culture in non-traditional environments. In addition, teams will become more and more diverse. Generation Z will enter the labor force, while the "boomers" will work until the traditional retirement age. Globalization has already created cross-border teams and the demographic shift will make team diversity essential to capitalizing on market changes. At the same time, managers will have to become more and more sensitive to cultural differences.

Sometimes, managers are confusing collaboration with consensus and harmony, which can slow the progress of teams and make them less effective. In the context of technological change, demographics and markets affected by change, the ability to challenge the status quo will be the difference between exceptional and mediocre managers. In conclusion, the critical ability for future managers will be to lead teams in a way that minimizes tension and generates constructive debates in their bosom. These debates will eventually lead to innovative ideas and results delivered in time that will be able to reach the market when consumers are looking for solutions.

Transparency, lack of duplicity and the ability to win the trust of the teams

The ability to be effective in building a culture within non-traditional teams will require new levels of transparency and communication. Traditionally, this has always been difficult for managers. Yes, we have to protect our company, develop our employees and serve them. But where do we draw the line? Secrets and duplication will not fly in a blurry world that reveals everything, starting with salary and ending with working practices or private memories. For disparate teams to work and perform, they need managers they can trust - even when they can not be face to face. Managers will need to be able to acquire this trust to build an excellent culture and an organization capable of retaining valuable members.

The disappearance of egocentric and narcissistic managers: the manager of the future is empathic

Emotional intelligence has been getting a lot of attention lately, but it will become even more important when jobs change radically in the next eight or ten years. As we know, IQ is a measure of the intelligence coefficient, and the EQ is a measure of emotional intelligence. A high EQ is synonymous with self-awareness, with a knowledge of your own strengths and weaknesses, and also with the assistance of colleagues and mentors to help find these points, which will allow for identification of areas to be improved.

People with high EQ tend to have a greater empathy, which allows them to gain a more comprehensive perspective on the team, but also to evaluate what does not work within the team. These things happen because empathic managers can see the situation also from the point of view of others.

In conclusion, the skills that every manager will need to have in the next eight years are largely the following: the desire to accept and embrace change, but also the desire to adapt to new work structures that combine internal and external resources with a commitment to acquire new knowledge on a daily basis.

Ligia Neacşu - General Director, Best Smart Consulting – The Industrial Academy

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